Emma Skuban and Morgan Grabarz
Guest Sociology Writers
Sociologists Emma Skuban and Morgan Grabarz have conducted a study regarding the correlation between laughter and stress. They hypothesized that the amount of lightheartedness in a student’s day determines the amount of pressure they feel to achieve in academics. The two chose this topic to perform their experiment due to the high amounts of stress among New Hope Solebury High School students. “Maybe if we can find a method that works to reduce stress, more people will be able to use it in everyday life.” says Skuban. The 2 sociologists sent out surveys to random High School Students asking them to rate the number of times they laugh per day on a scale of 1 to 10. They also included questions such as “How much homework do you complete per night?”, “What is your grade point average?’. and finally “How much stress do you feel from school on a scale of 1 to 10?” Each of these aspects provided valuable insight as to whether or not laughter and stress are related.
After distributing the surveys and evaluating the results, Skuban and Grabarz found that laughter and stress are hardly related, if at all. Instead of their proposed results, the researchers came to the conclusion that almost all NHS students feel stress levels greater than a 5 on a daily basis. This in no way correlated to the almost equal split between students that laugh often, and those that don’t. It is most likely that lightheartedness is dependent on personality, rather than on stress. This is especially shows by the wide variety of results that came back from the survey. “It is possible that people tend to be more serious in stressful situations, but most of the time students seem to maintain their usual personalities.” says Grabarz. With this in mind, the two came to the conclusion that students at New Hope Solebury have been put into so many stressful academic situations that their characteristics cannot be changed by it.
One interesting result of the experiment was that the few individuals that claimed to have low levels of stress were all members of the 12th grade class. The researchers attribute this anomaly to the not- so rare disease known as “senioritis”. Even more strange was that most of the afflicted were able to maintain decent grades. While these individuals were found the have lower stress levels, this in no way boosted their laughter levels. Further confirming that one will stay true to personality, instead of becoming introverted in the face of stressful situations.
The researchers wish that their original hypothesis were closer to the truth regarding the relation of stress and laughter among high school students. Instead, they found that over 75% of subjects felt intense amounts of pressure on a daily basis, far too much for mere teenagers. Upon interview, Morgan and Emma revealed that although laughter cannot change the presence of stress, it can be an effective coping method to lift spirits in trying times. For these reasons, both sociologists agree that laughter is an important piece of every day, whether or not is in response to stress.